11 Creative Ideas to Transform Your Walk-in Closet, Big or Small

published Sep 28, 2023
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walk in closet with angled ceiling, skylight, wood slat doors, lots of wood details, hanging racks, bench with pillows

If you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in closet, you know how coveted the extra space is in any home. Whether you have a walkable dressing room or a compact nook, there are creative ways to decorate and organize this space. 

I spoke with interior designer Audrey Scheck of Audrey Scheck Design to get some expert walk-in closet styling input. She offered clever storage solutions and luxurious design touches that I’ll be bookmarking for my future walk-in wardrobe. Get inspired by the 11 closet ideas below, including how to create a home office hybrid space or simple ways to add more color and personality.

1. Add a rug for a lived-in feel.

Rugs are usually reserved for high-traffic areas, but adding one to a walk-in closet feels luxurious and functional. “Layering a rug on top of the flooring will instantly infuse the space with character, warmth, and texture,” says Scheck. Not to mention, it’s softer on bare feet.

2. Use shelving for a touch of upscale elegance.

Open shelving in a walk-in closet keeps your belongings visible 24/7, so you can see all your shoe options at once rather than keeping a mental log of what’s stuffed inside boxes. It also adds a minimalist, modern elegance to the area, and lets you arrange shoes, handbags, and accessories as decorative elements that showcase your style.

3. Incorporate baskets and labels.

If you plan to go the open-shelving route, but still squirm at the thought of a cluttered-looking closet setup, try woven baskets for stylish storage. “To keep things tidy, we suggest adding labels on the outside of each basket as a reminder for what’s inside,” Scheck notes. “Also, make sure to measure your shelves to ensure that the baskets you’re sourcing are allowing for maximum storage within the space.”

4. Make it a cloffice.

If you’re living with another remote worker, then you probably know how important it is to have separate office spaces for privacy and concentration. A walk-in closet can create just that: Scheck notes that if you have extra space, you can add a small desk and carve out a WFH area. “Closets that double as offices are lovingly called ‘cloffices,’ and they’re a great solution if you need extra work space!” she says.

5.  Install mirrored cabinets.

Because of doors and shelves, closets usually lack blank wall space for a floor-length mirror to hang. If you want to see your clothes as you try them on, though, you can transform your cabinets with mirror-fronted surfaces. You’ll get the bonus of the reflective surfaces creating an illusion of a larger space.

Credit: Erin Derby

6. Create a custom vanity nook.

Elevate your morning routine by including a glamorous vanity nook within your walk-in closet. Even a compact vanity desk with a lighted mirror for putting on makeup — plus extra storage for skincare essentials — will make getting ready for the day feel fun, indulgent, and luxurious. Don’t forget a plush stool or chair to sit on.

7. Try color-coordinated organization.

Just like bookshelf styling, the soothing aesthetic of color coordination also works on your wardrobe. Arrange your clothing and accessories by similar shades to create a harmonious and visually appealing space. This method not only simplifies choosing an outfit, but also adds a pop of vibrancy to your closet.

Credit: Jessica Rapp

8. Go for bold lighting.

Make your walk-in closet stand out with dramatic lighting. Consider installing a statement chandelier or pendant lights to add luxury, or use LED strip lighting under shelves and inside drawers to make your closet look like a boutique. Either way, extra closet lighting also makes it easier to find certain pieces.

Credit: Emy Stenudd

9. Don’t forget the ceiling.

If you’ve ever fantasized about painting a room all one color for that cozy monochromatic look, your closet is the perfect place to test out this trend. The small space will actually feel larger coated in one unified color, plus it’s a great opportunity to experiment with a bold new shade. Renters can try peel-and-stick wallpaper or a decal, too, like this Etsy style that’s a replica of the Sistine Chapel ceiling

Credit: Minette Hand

10. Make it a mediation haven.

Drew Barrymore made her walk-in closet a meditation room, covered in hand-written affirmations. You, too, can recreate this self-care oasis by hanging your own positive messages up on the wall — things you’d like to think about at the top of every day. Style the space with a comfy pouf, fluffy rug, chaise lounge, or yoga mat to inspire you to slow down and quiet your thoughts.

Credit: Katie Walker

11. Lean into decor.

Make your walk-in closet a true reflection of your interior style by adding personalized decorations, art, or accessories. Frame vintage Vogue covers, or hang your favorite Nike ads on the front of your sneaker cabinet. These personal touches can make your closet feel like a space designed just for you.